Comments about ‘Count My Vote launches initiative to change Utah's primary elections’

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Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 11:35 a.m. MDT

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Wash DC Reader
Reston, VA

So how does one sign the petition?

Salt Lake City, UT

We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous. This is a good thing, and should be preserved.

The Neighborhood Election and Convention system in Utah is the best way to make sure a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election funds.

We want neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding ways to improve this state and the nation. If the system is changed, we would be dropping off votes, but not meeting and discussing candidates and issues. That is what is wrong with Washington, D.C. They don’t listen to each other in a meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that, not perpetuate it.

Salt Lake City, UT

Our current problem with voter turnout is it has not kept up with the population increases. The voter turnout keeps going up but not as fast as the population. Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger percentage of them and they aren't, as a group, as involved. We need to educate those moving in and not understanding our system.

Many citizens who attend their neighborhood elections and caucus meeting become interested in politics and get involved in their communities, the state and the nation. They meet and help candidates become elected. Some then later become candidates. This should be encouraged through education.

The system and the experience attending the meetings can always be improved, but the “Count My Vote” initiative isn't the way to do it. Any changes to the system the political parties use to determine their nominees should be determined by the political parties.

Trust Logic
Brigham City, UT, 00

This is a sad, sad day! I admit that our voting system can always use improvement and participation is a serious problem, but a direct primary will not fix that! The caucus attendance has doubled twice over the last four years, while the primary participation hasn't. It's hovering around 10%. Is that better representation? Plus, if their reasoning for going to a direct primary instead of modifying our current system was to "keep the issue simple for voters", then they must consider the general population too stupid to understand a system that is working and relies on communicating with your neighbors. This is not California!

Bountiful, UT

Where do I go to sign this petition?

Salt Lake City, UT

Wash DC Reader,
You need to be a Utah voter

We already have a "bypass" system, filing as an unaffiliated candidate. A candidate can go straight to the general election ballot. Someone who doesn't think they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions can still run and spend their money. Why should they be a political party nominee if they are going to bypass their political party?

At only one time for 10 years in Utah’s history did the state depart from the Neighborhood Election, Caucus and Convention System. In 1937, a powerful democratic state senator convinced enough of the legislature to switch to an open primary. He had had two losses, a US Senate race and also for governor, because the majority of the convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. But he was well known and had money.

Many at the time felt like an open primary was his ticket to the governorship, and he did win. But the change in the system only lasted for a decade. After public and media disillusionment, and even worse voter turnout, Utah restored the Caucus and Convention System. Why go back?

Bountiful, UT

It looks like Utah_1 is filling up the comment boards here and at the other SLC newspaper.

Trust Logic
Brigham City, UT, 00

What bothers me the most is how this has changed so drastically. For months I have followed this story and it has always discussed an 'alternate' way to the primary or changing the threshold. They almost had me convinced that they had good ideas and that they were just trying to encourage participation. I even defended them once. And now they stab me in the back with a direct primary! What a fool I was.

JoCo Ute
Grants Pass, OR

You need to be able to translate Leavitt's code ""We're the only state where a handful of people, just a handful of people, routinely choose" candidates. He's referring to the extremist element, the far right wingers who use their negativity to drive a small group of fellow hard core believers to dominate the current process and produce candidates that continue to drive the GOP to the extreme right. This element of the GOP is the reason for the perception of a Republican war on women, minorities, the young (especially students), and gay & lesbian voters.

Most voters do not have the time to get involved in the caucus system. What are the people who support the current system afraid of?

Salt Lake, UT

This is a sad day for Utah. Even though Delegates could have raised the threshold for nominating candidates at the last convention to avoid this, this effort by a few to gain power over the many will restrict the ballot. If they succeed, only rich, powerful, connected, and media-loved people will be able to run for major office. Gone are the Mr. Smiths under this proposal. Gone is the insurgent, the outsider, the voice of the people. If Count My Vote succeeds, you will never see a politician standing face-to-face with a voter again. You will never see them answering questions at town hall meetings again. You will only see TV commercials and news articles. You will only hear about candidates that the media tells you about. You won't hear about the reformers, the patriots, or someone who is just like you. You will only hear about the one who raised the most money (becoming beholden to those who gave it) and the one who sends out the most mail and hires the political consultant class (you know, those behind this effort). Please, don't sign the petition. Don't give the rich all the power.

Tooele, UT

Re: " I admit that our voting system can always use improvement and participation is a serious problem, but a direct primary will not fix that!"

"Buy my vote" is not really intended to fix it.

It's intention is to assure control of Utah by monied interests, who will make deals in smoke-filled back rooms as to who they will permit to run for positions as our leaders.

"Buy my vote" is nothing more than a crass, venal, arrogant attempted coup, and should be rejected by any right-thinking Utahn.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It will be funny if this initiative passes and nobody shows up to the primary (like currently happens).

When I ask my friends who support this if they voted in the most recent primary... they all admit they didn't.

Think about it... did YOU bother to vote in the August 13th Primary? Probably not.

Did you vote in the Primary before that? Voter turnout number indicate probably not (for at least 80% of you).

Have you EVER voted in a Primary? Probably not.

But we want to do away with neighborhood caucus meetings at all cost... why? So we can have a primary (which nobody bothers to vote in)?

If people would bother to show up and vote in the primaries I'd be all for this. But most of us are just too lazy to do that. Current voter turnout numbers PROVE that.

I would like to propose a pre-requisit on the initiative... they have to get at least 20% voter turnout at a primary before it goes into affect. And you have to prove that you voted in the most recent primary to put your name on the petition. Then I'd be for it.

Salt Lake City, UT

Trust Logic,
If someone can't make the neighborhood caucus meeting, they have a month to tell their delegates who they are supporting. If someone doesn't make their parent teacher night, does that mean they can't talk to the teachers all year long?

Trust Logic
Brigham City, UT, 00

I just read the initiative. By the same logic we can say that our government 'is flawed'. 'It authorizes a handful of political-party insiders to heavily' impact the laws of the land and 'prevents the broader public from even considering' what they would want those laws to be. The office's time requirements 'place restrictions precluding many Utahns' - working men and women- 'from any realistic opportunity to' run for office.

From their justifications, should we be a straight democracy. Boy, our founding fathers didn't know what they were doing!

Salt Lake City, UT

By looking at the picture of those pushing for this. You can see who will be representing us. The rich, and the well connected. Make NO MISTAKE this is not about voter participation. This is about who has the biggest money chest to win elections. If you want higher voter participation, increase vote by mail participation, make it EASIER TO VOTE plain and simple!

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Utah_1 has a good point. Why should the party be forced to fund and support a candidate they don't support?

If you can't win the party nomination (at convention)... then why should they have to fund your campaign? If you don't win the party nomination... you can still run as an independent (but they don't have to pay for your campaign). And why should they?

I think it's OK to let the parties pick the candidates they want to support. The democrats do it at a convention of Democrat delegates (picked from the party establishment). Republicans do it at a convention of neighborhood elected delegates... what's so terrible about that? Both use a convention to pick who will meet in the party primary. What's so bad about that?

And no... the convention doesn't mean ANY person can't get on the ballot. ANY candidate can still be on the ballot as an independent. And if you have so much appeal... you can win! It just means the party doesn't have to fund your campaign. And why should they if you can't win the support of your party?


If you don't want to bother going to your neighborhood caucus mtg. you're not going to bother to vote in the primary either.

I actually look forward to my caucus mtg. People don't always like what I say but that's o.k. AT LEAST I get to say it! I get to visit with my neighbors for awhile, which is a very good thing. I respect that they think differently.

Caucus meetings are really a short civics lesson. They're great!

If you like those goofy TV ads (that tell you NOTHING about the candidates),and love all those signs stuck all around town for a year before the election you'll probably sign the petition.
Incumbents (especially those from the D.C. crowd)have VERY deep pockets to buy themselves an election.

When the petition gatherers ask me to sign - they'll get an earful!!

Bluffdale, UT

heck lets face it the republican party in utah wants to just tell all of us what to do and would love to out law all others, because money is right and they are the money.

Robb Cundick
Salt Lake City, UT

I have always participated in my neighborhood caucuses but strongly disagree with those who say it is the best system for choosing our candidates. The Utah Republican Convention ends up being dominated by delegates far to the right of the majority. They resisted efforts for reasonable change in the last convention; they have no one but themselves to blame for this petition initiative. I'm most definitely ready and anxious to sign.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

You're sounding a little paranoid now buddy... get a grip. Republicans aren't trying to tell you what to do, and they don't have all the money. That's just a myth. There are wealthy Democrats too.

This isn't just about Republicans. Democrats pick their primary candidates at convention too... Both parties will need to do away with their convention if this scheme wins. And only incumbents and rich candidates who can buy name recognition will succeed in the primary.

Robb Cundick,
Did you vote in the August Primary? If not... why do you want a primary (when we already have a primary which you don't bother to vote in)?

I can see the need for a Primary. But we already have Party Primaries (both Democrat AND Republican) which nobody seems to even know we already have them... maybe because they have never bothered to vote in them.

The only purpose for the convention is to nominate people for the party primary. Then you and I get to vote in that party primary to decide who will represent our party in the general election (IF you bother to show up and vote in the primary).

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